Lady, I Know to Leave a Tip

On Friday night, my posse of two friends and myself went out to celebrate one of the gang’s birthdays. Yea for birthdays! We decided on a Chinese buffet that the birthday boy eats at regularly as in a minimum of once a week regularly, usually more often. The owner greeted us, calling the birthday boy by name. Our server also said hi to him, using his name. We eat, we give him his gift, and we have a generally good and relaxing time. Sushi, Hunan Chinese food and a bit of stuff like pizza are there for the taking. Even if they sang happy birthday, we wouldn’t have asked for it, it’s part of the birthday gift. As we go to leave, I take the check, glance at it and start doing the math for the tip on the way to the register, as I’m paying by credit card. Our server grabs me by the arm and pulls me to a stop, so that she can tell me that the tip is not included on the receipt. That almost ended my good mood. Pal number three was in her post eating MSG little happy place, and bounces off to pay the tip, even though I told her at the beginning it was on me. I was just astounded at how the server acted. When the birthday boy was asked, he said that she had never been rude like that (she’d been snarky all evening) and that yes, they tipped well every time they went. Had it been up to me, at that point there would have not been a tip. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve left less than 15 percent for bad service. I have a lot of friends who are servers or have been servers, and I always feel like if I tip well, maybe some good tipping karma will make it back to my pals. Right up until that point, we were going to tip 20 percent, and write her grouchiness off to hey, its Friday night. Since I held my temper so my friend could continue to go back to the restaurant problem free, I’d like to take a minute now to say what I wanted to say to her.

Look bitch, its not a good idea to tell someone that they’re supposed to tip you, especially when one of the party is a regular customer who knows this. If tipping is such a problem then slap a little note around somewhere noting that tipping is expected, but say it nicely. Furthermore, grabbing someone hard enough to leave bruise marks is not a good way to increase your amount of tip. I said something that no one has ever heard me say because of that: I hope you didn’t leave a decent tip. We’re talking about someone whose server friends get on her for tipping too much. I really can’t wish painful illness, personal problems or anything like that on you; it’s not my style. I can only hope that the good manners fairy visits you and lets you know that grabbing someone and asking for a tip is terribly rude. (I also hope that the good manners fairy visits those who don’t tip you also. Fair’s fair.) Ok, well maybe a tiny part of me hope that you were not tipped as well as possible for the evening, but now I feel bad for thinking it since that’s your livelihood. I should have typed this on Friday when I was still filled with vitriol. Although I do feel better getting that off my chest.


I was going to suggest that maybe because there were a lot of you she might have thought you thought that, as in some places, there’s gratuity added for large parties. Then I reread “my posse of two friends and myself” and said, huh. Odd.

If someone grabbed me that hard, they not only wouldn’t get a tip, I’d ask to see the manager. You were way too generous with this person.

Two potential explanations–not that she should have grabbed you in any case:

  1. Tips on credit cards are reported to the IRS, cash is only estimated. Most waiters/waitresses I know therefore prefer cash.

  2. Sometimes cashiers don’t make sure that tips from credit cards get to the server.

  1. She was having a bad night, and had already been stiffed a number of times. She was in a foul mood and didn’t want to be stiffed again. Being that she normally treated you well, but was in a bad mood in general that night, I’m going with this explanation. Doesn’t excuse her grabbing you, but waitresses have feelings even though they’re not expected to. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it.

Since when do you tip at a buffet?

I tip if the server brings sodas, silverware, etc. If it’s completely self-service, I probably wouldn’t tip.

A new custom with servers around here that seems to have popped up recently: A lot of them are including the calculations for 15% and 20% tips on the bill, along with the obligatory “Thanks!” It’s justified as friendly help with the math, but it feels a lot like, “Here’s what you owe me.”

Hmph. Maybe I’m just being curdmudeon. But I can divide by 10 then multiply by 2, thanks very much.

I can see throwing a couple bucks on the table for drink refills. But thursday was talking about tipping them 20%! I thought I was a decent tipper until I read that. If you tip 20% at a buffet, what does he tip a waiter who offers full service?

I dunno if it’s a London thing (where the tipping etiquette seems to be a lot less emphasized than here) one restaurant I went to took the liberty of adding the “optional” 12.5% gratuity to the bill. I was a little taken aback, but since I hadn’t tipped much before then (as it doesn’t seem to be the norm) I went ahead and paid it - the service had been well worth it.

I just talked to the birthday boy, and they went back to the restaurant on Monday (and they wonder why I tease the office full of engineer and engineer types about the Chinese food stereotype.) They said that the waitress was as pleasant as could be and didn’t remind them of the tip or anything basically business as usual.

Someone suggested saying something to the manager, unfortunately it’s her dad. The restaurant is family owned, so all that would have done is made it hard for my friend to go back. 20 percent wouldn’t have been that much; the meal was less than thirty dollars. I’ve been known to leave six dollars tip on a twelve-dollar bill. (It was slow, my fave place to eat, I could sit, read my book and no one yelled at me to eat more or less. It was like heaven.) Once, (again at the favourite restaurant) we left an insane tip, because while our server was very fabulous, the table next to us was absolutely awful. Since they were being loud we unfortunately heard most of their dining experience, knew that what they were yelling at the server about was incorrect, and heard them say they were going to stiff him. After dealing with them and still giving us great service, we felt like it was the least we could do. Hell, we wanted to hug the poor guy. Anyway, I must have had my weird meter turned up to high this weekend or something. Oh, and I definitely know that servers are people to; like I mentioned earlier I have oodles of friends and relatives who are or have been servers.

(Psst: Thursday’s a she.)

Lost in a good book, huh? :slight_smile:

I’d probably go 25% if it included a happy ending.

I don’t see how these concerns would warrant her response. She’s not complaining about how the tip is paid but rather if its paid.